In a locker room full of sad faces and angry eyes, none looked worse than Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
The Cowboys quarterback threw three interceptions in the game, but cost his team a chance at victory with the third and final pick. After the Cowboys defense stopped the Redskins late in the fourth quarter and gave Romo the chance to engineer another fourth-quarter miracle, Romo tried to float a pass over Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson. Jackson made an incredible leaping grab, intercepting the ball and giving the Redskins posession at the Dallas 25-yard line with just three minutes to play.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially when I throw that interception at the end,” he said.
Romo explained that he didn’t expect Jackson to drift into coverage on the short pass intended for running back DeMarco Murray.
“That will eat at me for weeks,” Romo said after the game. “It stings.”
After a a seven-game winning streak that landed the Redskins the NFC East title, the team enters the playoffs as hot as any team in the NFL. Based on a similar formula from the New York Giants Super Bowl win last season, Romo gave the Redskins a good chance in the playoff hunt.
“The NFC East is always going to be tough. If you can get yourself in to the playoffs coming out of there you’ve got a great shot to go win the Super Bowl. We’ve seen that over and over again.”
Asked about the play of Robert Griffin III, Romo kept it simple: “He did a good job.”
Visibly upset following the game, Romo said he would lean on his faith and family to get through the trying times.
“All you can think about is what you didn’t accomplish,” he said. “I feel as though I let our team down.”
For Jackson, he had the opposite reaction.
“I was just doing my job, and once I actually caught it and got back up and saw the fans, it felt good,” Jackson said of his interception. “Just celebrating. It felt good.”
Romo’s third interception gave the Redskins the ball in scoring position, and Alfred Morris delivered his third touchdown of the game, sealing the Redskins 28-18 victory over their rivals.
“That’s just going to sit with you for a while,” Romo said. “It’s not something I look forward to thinking about, agonizing over.”
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who hauled in seven passes for 56 yards and a TD, explained how hard this loss would be for his team.
“It’s an empty feeling in your stomach,” Witten said.
Many Cowboys players talked about injuries the team dealt with against the Redskins. Romo made similar comments, though he did not want to make excuses for the loss. Even in the face of a heartbreaking defeat, Romo and the Cowboys players saluted the Redskins for a well-played victory.
“Give them credit, they made the play, the plays that matter,” he said. “It definitely stings more when you lose a game like this.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who held court with reporters in the locker room after the loss, also saluted the Redskins’ play.
“They were the better team, and they played like it,” Jones said following the game. “They deserve what their getting, hats off to them.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed Jones' comments.
“They played better than we did, they deserved to win the ball game and we give them credit.” Garrett said of the Redskins. “They did a great job as a coaching staff. The players deserved to win the game.”